In Chapter 2, Eldredge makes that case that God is “wild at heart”. He believes that most men have a warped idea of who Jesus is and was. People get their attitude of Jesus based on how their father was, the kind of pictures we always see of Jesus, and what the church tells us that Jesus was like. Eldredge says that most people end with the vision of Jesus being “Mister Rogers with a beard”. We are told to be nice, be swell, and be like Mother Theresa. He makes the statement that he would rather be told to be like William Wallace from Braveheart.
I would argue that both characters where strong in their own right. William Wallace was strong in his stance against the English. Mother Theresa was strong in her determination to rescue the poor in Calcutta. I truly don’t picture Mother Theresa very mild. But I guess I see Eldredge’s point. I just would have chose somebody besides Mother Theresa to compare side by side with William Wallace.
Eldredge goes on to state that God has a battle to fight, and adventure to have, and a beauty to win. I think the premise is quite clear that God definitely has a battle to fight (or better said battle that has been fought), and a beauty to win (his bride the church). I am a little tepid to accept the adventure part though.
Mr. Eldredge says that since God created the world and since most of the world is dangerous and wild, then it obviously means that God prefers “adventure, danger, risk, and the element of surprise”. I would argue that the world could have been much more tame and not as wild before the fall. Perhaps some of the traits we see around us-danger, risk, etc are products of the fall.
In the garden we have a world that is perfect. We have a world based on God’s commands, God’s love, and one on one communion with God. Was there death in the Garden before the fall? Was there a need for carnivores to be carnivores? Was there a need for danger until the serpent entered? I really don’t have definite answers for that but it seems that if Eldredge’s premise is a perhaps a bit skued on this point.
Now having said all this, I do believe that we have white washed the power and judgement of God. He is a lot more wild than we give him credit for. I agree that we associate Jesus with someone of the character of Mister Rogers. But he was much more. He was not timid. He was not mild all the time. God was not “nice” in the OT. God says he is a jealous God. He is righteous. He can be angry. Eldredge uses a quote from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. The beaver is talking to the children. The children ask the Beaver if Aslan is safe. Mr. Beaver’s response is…
“Safe? Who said anything about being safe? Of course he isn’t safe. but he’s good.”
And that is how it is with our Lord. If we think he is safe, we are sorely mistaken. But he is good.